“Hongkongers like good food, but the most important part is value for money,” says Fann Yuen, Dairy Farm’s Own Brand Director.
“Customers are very smart, and if we don’t set products at great prices they won’t buy them from us,” agrees her colleague Danni Peirce, Dairy Farm’s Commercial Director.
Yuen and Peirce are the forces behind Yu Pin King and Meadows, two much-loved brands offering some of the best food products around at unbeatable prices.
Both are developed by Dairy Farm Group, which operates supermarket giant Wellcome, among others.
Meadows, which launched in 2019, offers ingredients sourced directly from producers around the world: think Belgian chocolate, ice cream from New Zealand, tomatoes from the Netherlands, oatmeal from Australia, sugar from Korea, American almond nuts, as well as baked goods from suppliers right here in Hong Kong.
Relaunched in 2021 after 16 years on the market, Yu Pin King has all the essentials for a Chinese meal: from its Thai Hom Mali rice, which won the “best tasting rice in the world” award at the 2020 World Rice Conference; to over 140 products from Hong Kong, soup ingredients, and dry goods. Its relaunch sees a sleeker, more modern look and feel in its packaging, as well as an expansion in its product range. Soy sauce is a new addition to the brand — and along with the regular version of this kitchen mainstay, there’s also premium first extract.
The brands have won some 80 international awards to date. So how have they attracted savvy Hongkongers in droves?
Both brands are committed to three philosophies: high quality, great flavors, and value for money.
First, the product development phase is key. Products are sourced from 26 countries, and there’s a stringent process in place.
“We focus on what the consumer wants,” says Yuen. They’re also informed by global trends: “For example, sometimes when something is big in Europe, it will hit Asia very quickly.”
Then come the tastings. “We’ll only release these products when the customers say they like them,” explains Yuen. The quality control teams go through the products with a fine comb, before sending them to a third-party laboratory for additional testing.
It’s akin to “giving birth to a baby,” Yuen says.
Prices are kept low thanks to Dairy Farm’s presence in the region. “We’re basically leveraging our scale,” explains Peirce. “We source in great volume — and this ensures taste and quality, at the lowest cost.”
But that’s not all. To support Hongkongers through Covid-19, Wellcome launched the Low Prices Locked program in October 2020. It ensures prices on 350 products are locked for half a year. In March 2021, the supermarket extended the program for another six months, adding a further 200 products.
Finally, Wellcome is always finding ways to contribute to the community. As a continuation of its Heartfelt Giveback Program, the supermarket launched the campaign Sik Jor Fan Mei (named for the Cantonese greeting, “Have you eaten rice yet?”) this year, donating 28,000 kg of Yu Pin King rice to 15 NGOs — an amount calculated based on how much rice is consumed per year per beneficiary.
The Heartfelt Giveback Program first launched in 2020. Last year, it’d donated over HK$1 million in cash vouchers and a further HK$1 million in meal vouchers to those in need.
“Alongside our commitment to bringing the greatest quality food at the lowest cost,” says Yuen, “We’ll continue to find ways to give back to the community.”